Monday, December 9, 2019
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
Trump warns N. Korea could lose 'everything' with hostile acts
U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could lose "everything" if he acts in a hostile manner, sending a clear warning to the regime to refrain from provocations such as nuclear and missile tests. Trump sent the tweet as the two countries have exchanged heated rhetoric over their stalled negotiations on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
S. Korean economy remains sluggish on slowing exports: KDI
The South Korean economy shows a continued sluggishness due to slowing exports and weak investment, a state-run think tank said Sunday. "The Korean economy remains subdued with a contraction in exports and investment despite the improvements in a few sentiment indices," the Korea Development Institute (KDI) said in its English-language Monthly Economic Trends publication.
Hyundai Motor affiliate signs MOU with Germany's Brose on future vehicle seats
Hyundai Transys Inc., an auto parts affiliate of Hyundai Motor Group, said Sunday it has signed an agreement with Germany's Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. to develop seats for future vehicles. Under the memorandum of understanding, the two sides will join hands to develop lightweight vehicle seats that can be operated through smart technologies with advanced materials, according to Hyundai Transys.
Vice Minister: S. Korea to Act Quickly in Case of Financial Volatility
Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said on Monday that South Korea will move swiftly to stabilize its financial markets in case of increased volatility caused by the trade war between the United States and China. Kim made the remarks during a meeting with senior economic and financial officials at the government complex in Seoul.
Senior White House Official: US Closely Coordinating with Allies over N. Korea's Test
A senior U.S. official reportedly said on Sunday that the United States is coordinating closely with allies and partners after North Korea announced it had conducted a test at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri. According to CNN, the remarks came from an unnamed senior official from the Donald Trump administration who explained that Washington had seen reports of the test.
DP and others to Table Budget, Fast-tracked Bills Monday
The ruling Democratic Party(DP), three minor opposition parties and a group of lawmakers preparing to launch a new party will seek to pass next year's budget and controversial fast-tracked reform bills on Monday. Floor leaders of the DP, the Bareunmirae Party, the Justice Party and the Party for Democracy and Peace, as well as the chief of a launch preparation committee for the new party reached the decision Sunday afternoon at the National Assembly.
N. Korea says it has conducted 'very important test' at satellite launching site
North Korea said Sunday that it has conducted a "very important test" at its western satellite launching site, saying the successful testing will play a key role in changing the country's "strategic position" in the near future. The North did not say what was tested in Saturday's testing. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that nothing has been fired from the North's Sohae satellite launching station, also known as Donchang-ri site, in the country's northwest.
Rallies held in Seoul to urge prosecution reform
A large protest rally against the prosecutors' office took place in Seoul on Saturday, as it's widening probes into suspicions involving Cheong Wa Dae in connection with last year's Ulsan mayor election and an arrested former vice mayor of Busan. Participants in a demonstration held in front of the National Assembly in western Seoul condemned the prosecution, led by Prosecutor-General Yoon Seok-youl, for the ongoing investigations into allegations that Cheong Wa Dae meddled in the Ulsan election and was negligent in inspecting Yoo Jae-soo, who was vice mayor of Busan.
Scientists develop technology to wirelessly charge smart contact lenses
South Korean scientists have developed a technology to wirelessly charge smart contact lenses for continuous operation, a development that could open new horizons for wearables, the National Research Foundation (NRF) said Sunday. The state-run foundation that supported the research said a team of scientists led by Park Jang-ung, a materials science professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, used ultrafine printing methods to build a supercapacitor, rectifying circuits and a light emitting diode inside a soft contact lens.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Air New Zealand named world’s best airline 2020
Air New Zealand has dethroned Singapore Airlines to reclaim the title of world’s best airline for the sixth time. AirlineRatings.com released the latest edition of its annual ranking, which is based on 12 criteria including fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, product offerings and staff relations. This year, the flagship carrier of New Zealand took top honors, nudging Singapore Airlines into second place, followed by All Nippon Airways, Qantas and Cathay Pacific.
Half of Hyundai, Kia cars sold in US are SUVs
More than a half of new cars manufactured by South Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia sold in US were sport utility vehicles, reaching the highest mark since they launched operations in the world’s second-largest auto market, the companies said Sunday. Of the 1.2 million vehicles Hyundai and its smaller affiliate Kia sold as of November, 668,328 units or 55.4 percent of the total were SUV, from 30.9 percent in 2013. The number of SUVs sold by November already has surpassed the figure for last year of 630,000.
Wael Shawky reconstructs Arab history through art
Imagine a Middle Eastern man walking bare feet on the streets of Mecca in the 1970s, who soon takes out his keys and drives away in a Cadillac. This interesting juxtaposition of a Bedouin city and the influx of Western influence was a common scene in Mecca at the time, when Wael Shawky was a child in the city. His experiences in Mecca have influenced him a great deal, said Shawky, whose artistic efforts are mainly invested in grappling with the history of Arab world to better understand its present.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
New NK test escalates tension on peninsula
Tension is rising on the Korean Peninsula after North Korea reportedly conducted a "very important test" at a missile site. A statement by North Korea's Academy of National Defense Science issued Sunday said the test took place at the Sohae satellite launching grounds on Saturday afternoon. Although North Korean state media did not specify exactly what was tested, the report has fueled concerns of military tension ahead of North Korea's proposed "year-end" deadline for resuming nuclear negotiations. The U.S. has been keeping tight surveillance on North Korea lately, deploying the RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft which tracks missile launches.
Firms withdraw from China on worsening business conditions
A growing number of companies from Korea and other countries are pulling their production out of China due to worsening business conditions sparked by the prolonged tension between the United States and China coupled with rising operating costs there. They are moving to the ASEAN market as the 10-nation economic bloc with its young population and cheap labor costs has been emerging as the world's new manufacturing hub replacing the Chinese market.
Seoul not to issue driver's license to short-term foreign visitors
Foreigners visiting Korea for a short time will not be able to obtain driver's licenses, the National Police Agency (NPA) said Sunday. The measure comes amid a growing number of traffic accidents abroad caused by foreigners with Korean licenses which are relatively easy to earn. Since September, those holding new Korean driver's licenses with English on the back can drive in 35 nations without the need for an international license.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
N.Korea Poised to Resume Long-Range Missile Tests
North Korea on Saturday resumed testing of long-range missile components in a clear shot across the bow of the U.S. as a year-end deadline to resume nuclear talks looms. State media said North Korea conducted a "a very important test" at an intercontinental ballistic missile test site in Tongchang-ri. The official KCNA news agency added the unspecified test's results "will have an important effect on changing the strategic position of [North Korea] once again in the near future." It came just a few hours after U.S. President Donals Trump called his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on Saturday morning to discuss the latest situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Half of Young Koreans Don't Plan to Marry
Young Koreans are becoming more averse to children and child rearing despite frantic government efforts to raise one of the lowest birthrates in the world. Now six out of 10 Koreans in their 20s believe stores have the right to turn back customers who bring their children and consider pets "family," while three out of 10 said they would consider breaking off wedding plans if their fiancé is against pets. The figures come from an online poll revealed Wednesday by the Korea Population, Health and Welfare Association of 1,000 men and women in their 20s.
More Diverse Foreigners Come to Seoul to Learn Korean
More and more foreigners are coming to Seoul to learn Korean, and a noticeable trend is that many of them are on short-term visas using their vacations from school or work. The rising demand has resulted in a flurry of Korean language schools opening to cater them. There are a dozen such schools in the Gangnam and Hongik University areas alone, which are popular parts of Seoul among foreign visitors, while other private educational institutes are rushing to open Korean classes. Lexis Korea, a large language school in Gangnam, had 2,000 foreigners attend it last year, growing 20 to 30 percent each year.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
S. Korean pension fund for military and government employees approaching depletion
Rapidly rising deficits in the military and government employees’ pension financial balances are leading to predictions that by 2028, pension fund premiums from 100 subscribers will be needed to cover support for at 50 or more beneficiaries. The military pension in particular is facing growing calls for the examination of plans for improvement, with expenditures standing at double the amount being paid in. According to a report titled “Financial Outlook for the Eight Forms of Social Insurance, 2019-2028” published on Dec. 1 by the National Assembly Budget Office (NABO), the financial surplus for the eight forms of social insurance -- including the national pension, private school pension, government employees’ pension, military pension, health insurance, and senior citizen long-term care insurance -- was predicted to decline by over 40% in 2028, 10 ears in the future.
Wang Yi bluntly criticizes US in public speech during S. Korea visit
Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi bluntly criticized the US in a public speech on Dec. 5, the second day of Wang’s first visit to South Korea since South Korea-China relations soured over Seoul’s decision to host the US’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system. Explaining that he had “come to improve strategic cooperation with South Korea,” Wang signaled China’s strategic aim of enlisting South Korea on its side in its intensifying competition for hegemony with the US.
Moon requests Chinese support for Korean Peninsula peace process during meeting with Wang Yi
During a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi on Dec. 5, South Korean President Moon Jae-in requested China’s interest and support toward pushing the Korean Peninsula into a new era of peace, an era without nuclear weapons. Moon also invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to pay a visit to South Korea early next year. Xi hasn’t been to the country since 2014. While hosting Wang at the Blue House on Thursday, Moon said, “At the moment, our efforts to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establish lasting peace stand at a major crossroads.”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
N. Korea launches ICBMs at Sohae satellite launching station
The South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release that it appears to have limited capabilities, in response to North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) launch on Nov. 5. The missiles were fired from a transporter erector launcher (TEL) at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, which Pyongyang promised to close during the inter-Korean summit in September last year. The government’s explanation is that the capabilities of the facilities have been reduced even though the promise was not kept.
Samsung founder’s Tokyo Declaration selected as highlight of Korean businesses
“You are known to have almost religious tenacity for the semiconductor industry. Could you explain what started it?” To the question by a Dong-A Ilbo reporter during an interview in November 1985, Lee Byung-chul, the founder of the Samsung Group, answered as below. “Dr. Inaba Hidejo, whom I met in Japan, said, ‘The future industries will depend on the semiconductor. The lighter, thinner, shorter, and smaller semiconductor should be developed.’ I was in the U.S. in 1982 and felt like the longer we wait to start the semiconductor business the more delayed it would be. So I called the headquarters from the states to begin preparation for the business.”
Fine dust hits nation right after cold spell
Fine dust has hit the country from Sunday when a cold spell subsided. Fine dust density in the Greater Seoul region and North Chungcheong region was forecast to remain at the “bad” level through Wednesday. According to the National Institute of Environmental Research Sunday, fire dust density in the western central region of the Korean Peninsula including Seoul, Gyeonggi and North Chungcheong provinces stood at the “bad” level on the day. The daily average ultrafine dust density in Seoul was 45 microgram (microgram or μg is one 1 millionth of a gram) per cubic meters as of 3 p.m. on the day.
The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Cheong Wa Dae Fuels Controversy with “Selective” Explanations Each Time an Allegation Is Raised
Each time an allegation is raised concerning the “ordered” police investigation of former Ulsan Mayor Kim Gi-hyeon, Cheong Wa Dae is fueling the controversy with a “selective” explanation. Some point out the resemblance between Cheong Wa Dae’s response and the response of former Minister of Justice Cho Kuk, who explained the issues one by one, each time a new allegation was raised against him and his family, eventually ending up with an inconsistent response. Baek Won-woo, former Cheong Wa Dae secretary for civil affairs (currently vice president of the Institute for Democracy) released a statement on November 28 and said, “Countless tips are concentrated at the Cheong Wa Dae Office of the Senior Secretary for Civil Affairs, via mail and various intelligence sources.” He further said, “If the case was tossed to the Office of the Secretary for Anti-Corruption, they would not have delivered the Ulsan case alone.”
Is Forty Middle Age or Is It Young? The Age Standard for Young People in an Aging Society, Inconsistent in Legislations and Local Governments
“We are living in the ‘age of centenarians,’ so do we have to classify forty as middle age?” The South Korean society is swiftly turning into an aging society, and this has led to policy proposals suggesting that the country should expand the range of young people and newly establish an age standard to replace the various standards used to define young people. People argue that those in their early forties should be included in what the state views as “young people” and expand the beneficiaries of policies for young people in order to prevent them from leaving areas far from the Seoul metropolitan area.
Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
S. Korean gov’t decides to impose tax on cryptocurrency gains
The South Korean government will tax gains from cryptocurrency trading after years of discussion on introducing taxation plans for the virtual asset that yet remains in a grey area despite fast growth. According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Sunday, the government will amend the country’s income tax law next year to tax capital gains from virtual asset transactions such as from bitcoins and ethereum. The ministry is currently working on taxation grounds for virtual assets with an aim to revise tax bill next year.
Technology for drug formulation switch emerges as new promising mkt
A platform technology that improves the convenience in drug administration is emerging as a new profit generator in the Korean pharmaceutical industry as it can be applied to increasing patient convenience and providing more treatment options, making established medicines more accessible. According to industry sources on Thursday, Korea’s biotech firm Alteogen recently signed a 1.6 trillion won ($1.34 billion) deal with an unnamed global pharmaceutical company to out license its recombinant human hyaluronidase called ATL-B4 that can facilitate conversion from intravenous protein therapeutics to a more convenient subcutaneous route of administration.
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